A pragmatic plan for the new wave of handheld capabilities is necessary in the process of bringing new mobile devices to business users, according to an outline of best practices delivery this week by analysts at Gartner Research.

Gartner VP and Distinguished Analyst Phil Redman and Research Director Bryan Taylor led a Web seminar entitled “The Adaptive Enterprise: Mobile Device Management Strategically,” including a review of mobile operating systems and the basic elements of mobile device management. Even as new smartphones and tablets are snatched up by businesses and handed out to employees like never before, Redman and Taylor pointed to dated planning for bringing business functions to smartphones and tablets.  

“The art of how to deliver a mobile experience ... still hasn’t been figured out yet,” Redman says.

Worse yet, old frameworks for supporting enterprise mobility “break down” because they are predicated on standardization, which won’t work across a range of in-house and BYOD environments, says Taylor.

“Even if you take an approach to BYOD that specifies one or a handful of mobile device models or vendors ... it still presents challenges to the service desk,” says Taylor, who prefers a generalized approach he termed “managed diversity.”

Under best practices for mobile device management – that “other” MDM – Redman and Taylor recommended the following subsequent, straightforward steps:

  1. Create User Profiles and Policy: including user types, security levels and content.
  2. Choose Device Types and Locations: of the four major enterprise mobile options – iOS, Android, Windows and RIM – the analysts noted about half were on Apple’s iOS. However, factors such as the rise in apps for Android are expected to boost use of devices supporting that operating system.
  3. Pick Delivery Method: deployed or offered as-a-service, or building out an on-premise environment.
  4. Assess Mobile Device Management Vendors: review competing features and ensure their capabilities with email, SMS, Web browsing and PIN security.
  5. Communicate to the End Users: don’t roll mobility out for users to figure it out on their own. Factor in a three-to-four month period for communication on aspects such as device preferences and work expectations, and follow up with reporting and their feedback after implementation.

Other considerations include enterprise application stores, mobile app development and a strategy to coincide mobile efforts with those on traditional enterprise PCs/laptops.
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